Madrid, 21 March 2016 – Access Info Europe has urged the European Ombudsman to recommend that the European Union immediately end its current practice of negotiating future legislation in secretive “trilogue” talks between the Council, Commission and Parliament.

In a submission to the Ombudsman’s Public Consultation, Access Info cited the arguments of the EU’s own Advocate General in the case that led to Access Info’s 2013 victory against the Council before the European Court of Justice:

‘Legislating’ is, by definition, a law-making activity that in a democratic society can only occur through the use of a procedure that is public in nature.[1]


There are huge concerns about the autocratic way the EU is currently taking decisions – the current plans to expel refugees being a prime example of that,” stated Helen Darbishire, Access Info’s Executive Director.

It is imperative that we have open and accountable law-making in Brussels, something that is clearly required by the EU’s treaties,” Darbishire concluded.

Access Info notes that two arguments have been used by EU officials in favour of having secret trilogue talks: that they are more “efficient” and that they protect law-making from undue lobbying.

Access Info’s submission notes that lobbyists already have access to EU law-makers – there are, after all, as many lobbyists as public officials in Brussels – and that what’s important is to ensure that there is full public debate around and broad participation in the development of any future legislation.

As the Advocate General stated in his Opinion on Access Info’s court case, it may be “easier” to hide the legislative process from public scrutiny but this would be undemocratic: “it has never been claimed that democracy made legislation ‘easier’.”

Access Info’s submission to the European Ombudsman here: file_doc  alt

Access Info encourages anyone who wants  to participate, to submit their recommendations before 31 March. There is as simple question and answer form by the Ombudsman available here.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Darbishire | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Notes for the editors:

[1] Paragraph 63 of the Advocate General Opinion in Case C280/11P Council of the European Union v Access Info Europe